He accused Britain of trying to cover up the incursion, saying it should “refrain from putting the blame on others.” The U.N. Security Council, meanwhile, unanimously voted to impose new sanctions against Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium – a move intended to show Tehran that defiance over its nuclear program will leave it increasingly isolated. British opposition lawmakers called on the government not to allow Iran to use the capture of the military personnel as a tool in the nuclear dispute. “The United Kingdom will not be blackmailed. Iran has a choice: to act responsibly or face greater isolation,” said Menzies Campbell, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats. But the British government appeared to be avoiding harsh language in its public statements as it continued to gather information about exactly what had happened and why. The British sailors had just searched a merchant ship Friday morning when they and their two inflatable boats were intercepted by Iranian vessels near the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway, U.S. and British officials said. The Iranians surrounded them and escorted them away at gunpoint. Britain immediately demanded the return of the eight Royal Navy sailors and seven Royal Marines – at least one of whom was a woman – and denied they had strayed into Iranian waters while searching for smugglers off Iraq’s coast. Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and the Ministry of Defense said the troops were in Iraqi waters when they were seized. Iraq’s military commander of the country’s territorial waters, Brig. Gen. Hakim Jassim, told AP Television News that Iraqi fishermen had reported that the British boats were “in an area that is out of Iraqi control.” In June 2004, six British marines and two sailors were captured, then paraded blindfolded on Iranian television. They admitted they had entered Iranian waters illegally but were released unharmed after three days. Iranian hard-liners have already called for the 15 Britons to be held until Iran wins concessions from the West. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! TEHRAN, Iran – Iran claimed Saturday that 15 British sailors and marines had confessed to entering its waters in an act of “blatant aggression,” an escalation of Tehran’s rhetoric over the confrontation. The British Foreign Office summoned Iran’s ambassador for the second time in two days, saying an under-secretary had spent more than an hour in “frank and civil” talks demanding the safe return of the sailors and Royal Marines, and seeking assurances about their welfare and access to British consular officials. Iran’s top military official, Gen. Ali Reza Afshar, said the sailors and marines were moved to Tehran and under interrogation “confessed to illegal entry” and an “aggression into the Islamic Republic of Iran’s waters.” Afshar did not say what would happen to the sailors. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini accused the British of “violating the sovereign boundaries” of Iran, calling the entry a “blatant aggression.”
Organizers had pledged to change the dress after it unleashed a storm of criticism when it was first shown in March. Critics said the design opened old wounds and was not appropriate. Designers who helped select the new dress from among 30 entries said they had wanted something that represented the nation’s culture and history, especially since Mexico City is hosting the pageant this year. The pageant culminates May 28. A dress to be worn by Miss Mexico in the Miss Universe pageant has been changed to show landscapes and pre-Hispanic themes, after the original design – adorned with bullets and sketches of hangings – drew accusations of poor taste, a pageant official said. “Esthetically, the dress is beautiful,” Lupita Jones, a former Miss Universe who now runs Miss Mexico operations, said Wednesday. “It is the same model. The only thing we have changed are the decorations, which pained some people.” The original floor-length dress, cut from a traditional cotton called manta, was decorated with scenes from Mexico’s 1926-29 Cristero war. Tens of thousands of people were killed during the uprising by Roman Catholic rebels against anti-clerical laws. The modified dress will depict landscapes of corn and cactus fields and decorative elements from Indian cultures. Also gone, a bandolier of bullets that served as a belt. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!